We shall by morning

Inherit the earth.

Our foot's in the door.

Mushrooms – Sylvia Plath

After John had stopped taking Prozium everything came crashing down on him: the smell, the view, the taste, the sound, the texture of things. The emotions and the dreams were the worst or rather the most overwhelming and yet exciting experience of it all.

He lacked so many words for the things he experienced.

He had dreamed for years, had known that dreams were a subconscious process of data in his brain and completely meaningless but before Errol's death he had never felt anything during those dreams and he certainly he never experienced them as nightmares.

He had felt haunted by Errol's last words, his naked body slipping into the flames that turned into Vivianna's red hair but when he tried to touch her he only felt the warmth of the fire before she crumbled to ashes under his touch.

He woke up gasping for air, his chest tight with an emotion he couldn't name.

Jürgen would know. Jürgen seemed to know everything: the words for the emotions John couldn't name and the answers to the questions John had.

"Do you dream?" John asked.

Jürgen looked up.

"Everyone dreams." He said. John felt something like impatience because Jürgen didn't understand him like he usually did: "We dreamt even when we were taking Prozium."

"What are you dreaming about?"

Jürgen gave him one of those looks where it seemed that he knew what John was thinking but wanted him to say it out loud, to make it real.

"My wife, my partner, how they died." His chest felt tight again, just at the memory of that dream.

"How did you feel?" Jürgen's voice was soft but curious.

"It hurt." John confessed.

"Where?" He took Jürgen's hand in his and laid its palm over his heart. Something flickered in Jürgen's blue eyes that John couldn't identify. He wasn't even sure it was something he had seen before. All he knew that Jürgen's hand felt warm under his and that he liked its touch. He liked being here around Jürgen and he was glad that he hadn't died in that final coup.

"You miss them, "Jürgen finally said: "It'll get better." He promised. He seemed to want to slip his hand out underneath John's but John curled his fingers around it and held on tightly.

"I know that there's much I can't name," he was struggling for the right words but as usual Jürgen gave him time to find them: "But I like being here, with you." His throat felt tight when he said that.

Jürgen smiled at him, brighter than the dawn and it filled John with a warm feeling he couldn't name either but it lifted the tightness from his chest. Jürgen took his hand and led him out on the streets that were lit up by the morning sun.

"We have created a new world. Now we have the time and the freedom to learn."

And his hand squeezed John's and neither of them let go.